Sumo: Hakuho reveals virus frustration, hopeful of March return

Kyodo -- Feb 23
Mongolian-born yokozuna Hakuho on Monday spoke of his frustration at missing the January Grand Sumo Tournament after contracting the novel coronavirus, while remaining hopeful of a memorable return at the upcoming March meet.

"I didn't (think I'd get infected), honestly speaking," said the grand champion as he spoke to the media for the first time since testing positive. "I was in good form so I was frustrated more than anyone else."

The record 44-time winner of the Emperor's Cup said he was "out of breath after only 10 training bouts" on Jan. 3 when he was planning to have 20.

The 35-year-old then could not smell the rice during a meal afterward and was found positive following a polymerase chain reaction test.

Hakuho, whose route of infection was not identified, said he is gradually recovering after nine days in hospital with his sense of smell back to normal.

- Kyodo